He looked around the standard table set
With standard plates, and thought again of Egypt.
Nothing reminded him that Arkansas
Had once sounded like sanity and peace.
No-–He’d sacrificed for anthropology
And not complained to lose the family ties.
That had been the life! No striped tie
Constricting thought and speech; no rigid set
Of guidelines; no quaint anthropology
Professors–-glib-–describing the Egypt
They would never see. (If you see a piece
Of mummy shroud... That’s luck in Arkansas!)
Once the desert had blazed, and Arkansas
Had been his mind’s oasis; and he tied
The pictures of the hills to the piece
Of canvas that hung from the tent pole; set
His table with standard plates. No, Egypt
Did not woo him then–just anthropology.
“Ben, speak to your aunt!” “No, apologies
Not needed!” Continuing–- “Harve can saw
The winter wood; I watch him close. He gypped
Me last time, you know.” The women’s voices tied
Him to the table that he’d thought an asset
When it was harder to get black-eyed peas.
Now, sitting with the aunts, he found the dreams of peace
Difficult to reconcile with aunts’ psychology.
They gave him back his room, gave him a set
Of fresh-washed sheets that smelled of Arkansas
Rainwater. And if they thought these adequate entice-
ments to stay home... well, they’d never been to Egypt.
“If I could go back!”–-Making all the Egyptian
Dreams into the impotent importuning of a peace
That had never existed–- “If I could go, tie
My backpack to my shoulders... a shovel, an Anthropology
Today... Then I believe I could love Arkansas,
Love everything about it–stupid people, stupid college, stupid mind set.”
At night he dreamed in Egyptian of things that anthropology
Never taught him: that peace was a word that Arkansas
Could not create; and the enticements of Egypt were only yearnings for the flowered dinner set.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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